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Debbie and I have a long-standing tradition of going to the First Friday Art Walk here  in Bend, Oregon. Lots of Bendites and tourists attend these mild party events. Almost everyone looks like successful Americans. It is almost wholly an older white event with a light sprinkling of all sorts of other people. Personally, I find the mildness of the affair challenging and that shows up for me in the art. I prefer art to bring something new to my eyes but that just never happens. We are inundated with non-threatening and to my eye routine pictures of mountains and flowers, old barns and horses, colorful splashes of paint and careful derivative abstractions of stuff that could have been done a hundred years ago.

This kind of art comes in many levels of skill, most of it competent and some of it excruciatingly professional, but all this art is meaningful only to the walls of comfortable old white people. Okay, I fall into that wimpy class now, but it really bothers me to see teenagers wearing T-shirts proclaiming fifty-year-gone musical artists that were popular to my generation or the one right after. I don’t know what is popular now because that music isn’t being created for some eighty-year old dude to enjoy, it’s being created for the youth to challenge and change the inequities of current society. Why aren’t they wearing T-shirts challenging the stupid lies being hosed onto us from every direction? Instead, the store windows are filled with a plethora of slogan-filled decals, coffee mugs, and refrigerator art loaded with lame banality.

Sometimes, on these First Friday Art Walks, I find myself yelling at the top of my voice in frustration at this bland banality. However, not wanting to be locked up as insane, I do these yells near the amplified bands.

Tonight I was distracted by the pain in my right calf because of the injury I suffered yesterday. It is a muscle bruise that makes it almost impossible to put any weight on the ball of my right foot. I can, and did, walk over a mile sideways like a crab. I progressed at about quarter normal speed but almost painlessly.

The weather was perfectly balmy and we were comfortable in shirtsleeves. The smoke from the still active forest fires had shifted away and we had almost perfectly clear air. Today’s news said that San Francisco had a super record high temperature of 106° F. today. I have been missing the mild weather of the Bay Area, as I said on my blog, A year of too much, the day before yesterday, but we haven’t had anything like that … yet.

Sometimes a day in Paradise is a bit too bland.

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